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NANO2021-Nanoteknologi og nye materiale

InhibioCaps: Encapsulation of Inhibio formulations for sustained antifouling effect.

Alternative title: InhibioCaps: Innkapsling av Inhibio formuleringer for å oppnå langvarig marin antigroe effekt.

Awarded: NOK 6.2 mill.

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Project Period:

2020 - 2022



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Biofouling is the undesired accumulation of marine organisms on surfaces immersed in sea water and limits the performance of many devices in marine industry. Antifouling (AF) paints are the main solution to prevent biofouling, by leaching of toxic substances called biocides which often impose serious environmental challenges. In this project we will use an alternative strategy of 1) using a more eco-friendly AF substance formulation developed by Inhibio to obtain an antifouling effect and 2) adding the AF substances into paint and taking measures to control the leaching to obtain long-life effect. Both approaches will contribute to obtain a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective antifouling effect. Inhibio AS was founded on the discovery of environmentally friendly substances as alternatives to biocides, referred to as "Inhibio substances". These substances reduce the ability of bacteria to attach to surfaces, thereby preventing biofilm formation. Inhibio research has shown that a combination of small amounts of approved toxic biocides with the eco-friendly Inhibio substances is able to provide the desired antifouling properties and significantly reduces the amount of required toxic biocides. Since antifouling paints generally appear to lose their AF effect after some time due to high leaching rate, we plan to control the leaching of active AF substances, by adding an extra barrier for diffusion of substances from paint using encapsulation of the effective substances. In the project, both the leaching rate of biocides in unmodified ship paint and test formulations with reduced biocide content and encapulated substances, will be investigated. This project therefore targets controlled leaching rate by protecting Inhibio's AF formulation within a carrier system added into a paint system for sustained antifouling effect. After successful conclusion of the project, our aim is to use this strategy to develop other AF-long lasting materials, like polyethylene and other polymers. In our last project year 2022 we therefore plan to include and test an AF-HDPE pilot and compare the AF effect with what we have achieved with AF-paints. Since the start of the project, we have adapted our methods to work on ship paint and have developed analytical methods to relate leaching of antifouling substances to antifouling effect. To be able to test antifouling all year around we improved our winter testing capacity. Furthermore, we were able to narrow down paint systems to one type that is compatible with our effective antifouling substances and our work on encapsulation and testing of substances is in progress in a new test round in the Mediterranian Sea. An extended sample list is been prepared that soon will be deployed in seawater in a warmer area.

Marine biofouling limits the performance of many devices in marine industry by deteriorating the surfaces and reducing the lifetime of equipment, costing the marine industry billions of dollars per year. Conventional biocides currently in use are highly toxic to aquatic organisms, leading to a substantial drive for alternative, more environmentally friendly antifouling substances. Inhibio has developed a portfolio of eco-friendly organic substances which reduces the ability of bacteria to attach to surfaces, thereby preventing biofilm formation. When these substances are mixed into polymers or coatings for antifouling effect, premature leaching of the substances is a problem, leading to a short-lived antifouling effect. The primary objective of InhibioCaps is to commercialise Inhibio's unique biofilm inhibitor molecules in carrier systems, to confer documentable, long lived prevention of marine biofouling in polymer-based marine coatings. Critical R&D challenges include finding a balance between protection of Inhibio substances during manufacturing and storage, and obtaining a suitable release profile and thus antifouling effect once in sea water. The project group consists of Inhibio as project owner, Jotun which is a world leading supplier of paints and powder coatings, and SINTEF as R&D-partner. A successful outcome of InhibioCaps and subsequent scale-up will enable Inhibio to obtain a product with a unique market opportunity, first via the domestic additive market, followed by a global launch to the relevant industries within marine applications. An international launch after 2022 requires that Inhibio must employ personnel in sales, marketing, logistics, quality assurance of external InhibioCaps production as well as in administration.


NANO2021-Nanoteknologi og nye materiale